J.Edgar Middleton

(3 November 1872 - 27 May 1960 / Ontario)

The Colonial

I never saw the cliffs of snow,
The Channel billows tipped with cream,
The swirling tides which ebb and flow
About the Island of my dream.
I never saw the English downs
Upon an April day,
The quiet old Cathedral towns,
The hedgerows white with may.
And still the name of England
Which faithless tyrants scorn
Can thrill my soul. It is to me
A very bugle-horn.

A thousand leagues from Albion's shore
In newer lands I saw the light,
I never heard the cannon's roar,
Nor saw a mark of Britain's might,
Save that my people lived in peace
And blessed the harvest sun,
And thought that tyranny would cease,
And battle-days be done.
And still the flag of England
Was rippling in the breeze
And twice two hundred ships of war
Were surging through the seas.

I heard Polonius declaim
About the new, the golden age,
When Force was but the mark of shame,
When men would curb their hellish rage.
'Beat out your swords to pruning hooks,'
He shouted to the throng,
But I–I read my History-books
And wondered at the song.
For it was glorious England,
The guardian of the free,
Who loosed those foolish tongues–but kept
Her cruisers on the sea.

And liberty was ours to love,
To raise a brood of lusty sons,

To worship Him who reigns above,
And ah!–we never saw the guns,
The search-lights sweeping o'er the sky
The seamen stern and bold,
Our only thought, to live and die,
And comb the earth for gold.
But it was glorious England
Who scanned the threatening morn,
And ah, the very name of her
Is like a bugle-horn!

Submitted: Thursday, May 10, 2012

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